Gingered Duck Breast

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Duck is quickly becoming my favorite “go to” meal here in Belgium. Not only is it readily available but unlike in the United States, it is affordable, costly just a few pennies more than chicken and beef. So why not enjoy it while we can?

So here’s another easy recipe for duck breast that is deceptively easy yet packed full of flavor. The breasts themselves are simple enough and dusted with salt, pepper and garlic powder then cooked to a medium rare temperature. Because I have become slightly obsessed with cooking with duck fat, I like to render the fat before placing the breasts in the oven. If you prefer, you can skip this step and simply cook them a bit longer in the oven. For this dish, it is the sauce that adds the punch. Spicy fresh ginger is mixed with two types of orange–juice and marmalade to make a sweet yet tangy sauce. The red pepper flakes add extra zip so if you prefer, you can reduce the amount used or omit them entirely.

For the duck:

2 boneless whole duck breasts

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2  teaspoon garlic powder

For the sauce:

1/2 cup orange marmalade

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Using a sharp knife, score the duck skin in a grid pattern, taking care to not cut through the meat.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the duck breast with the salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the marmalade, orange juice, ginger, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir well.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low, partially cover and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • When ready to proceed, position an over rack to 3 inches below the heating elements and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place the duck breasts skin side down in a cold cast iron skillet. Turn the heat to medium-low and render the fat until the skin is crispy and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Drain off the fat and reserve for another use.
  • Move the skillet to the oven and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. (Cook longer if you prefer your meat more well done).
  • Flip the breasts and cook for an additional minute. To test for doneness, press the breasts, they will give slightly then bounce back.
  • Remove the duck from the oven and slice across the diagonal.
  • Serve topped with the gingered orange sauce.

Serves 4

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